New Arsenal manager Gray Surman has been introduced to the media at the Emirate Stadium in club’s first press day with their new man in charge and the Canadian spoke assertively about his return to club football, and to the stadium he’d visited twice before with Wigan and Dortmund.
Surman’s first trip here was in November 2012 with his Wigan Athletic side winning 1-0 in the Premier League clash, and he visited again with Borussia Dortmund the following year in an entertaining 2-2 Champions League Group Stage draw in December 2013.
Surman has faced Arsenal on four other occasions: a 3-2 FA Cup win in Wigan in January 2013, followed by a 1-1 draw in the Premier League at the DW stadium. In the Champions League, Surman’s Dortmund side won 2-0 at Signal Iduna Park and – most recently – the clubs met in the 2014 UEFA Super Cup with Dortmund winning a five-goal thriller in Cardiff.
During the press conference, Surman revealed that midfielder Jos Verniers had signed a new four-year extension with the club on an increased wage of £50,000 p/w, and spoke about retaining the services of defender Laurent Koscielny and want-away midfidler Jack Wilshere who are both rumoured to be on their way out of Arsenal this summer.
Before Surman spoke, a representative of the Arsenal board announced that the club had sold 22,480 season tickets so far this summer and following Surman’s arrival they were anticipating selling a total of 41,000 before the season kicks-off on 18 August.
Rumours are that Arsenal are in talks with Dortmund over the services of right-back Julian Koch, and may have thrown their hat in the ring late on to scupper the deal taking Serbian striker Marko Obradovic® from Monaco to Manchester United.
FanTV reported afterwards that Koscielny, Vedran Corluka, and Santi Cazorla had all “liked” posts on the club’s social media that featured video clips of Surman’s Q&A.
In attendance are Sky Sports News, London Evening Standard,
TEAMtalk, Guardian, Football365, Daily Mirror, and The Metro.
Introducing former-Wigan and Dortmund head coach Gray Surman
as the new First Team Manager here at the Emirates Stadium in London.
“I am absolutely delighted to be here, and be back at the business end of a top club. I’m looking forward to being involved from the seniors to the academy, encouraging attractive football in partnership with the key Arsenal philosophy of nurturing youth on their way into the first team.
“The achievements of the club in Europe over the last three seasons have been great, but my main focus will be on the Premier League and getting the club back in the top four and back in the Champions League. That’s not to diminish any cup competitions we find ourselves in, as a winning run always brings a great morale boost to any squad.
“The backroom staff here are part of a fantastic setup and I feel it would be foolish to meddle with that. They have the experience of the players here. As much as I am very fond of my staff from Dortmund, we haven’t worked with each other for three years and I don’t want to disrupt their various projects.
“I’m aware that Laurent has been linked with other clubs, but I feel he would be an integral part of any title-chasing defence and I’ll do my utmost to keep him here. Similarly, Jack had made his feelings known to the previous management of his desire to move on from Arsenal, but I will take time to sit down with him and see if we’re on the same page with regards to what we should be achieving this season.
“The facilities here are wonderful with a high quality of players and staff so it’s unlikely that I’ll be making sweeping changes at any level. Though with new management comes a new opportunity to inject new life into any squad. I’m keen to add two or three faces to add depth to the squad and provide some competition in key areas.
“We could be a little light at the back should any long-term injuries fall our way by the time the Europa League starts. A World Cup year is always one where some big names make moves, and I’ll be keeping tabs on who could be available for us. We have already made enquiries with a couple of clubs with regards to potential deals, and more details will follow should we enter deeper discussions.
“There’s money in the kitty, and the chairman has provided the facility to increase our current wage budget by about a third of current spending to accommodate additions to the squad, including any contract renewals this season. Jos is a player I’m looking forward to working with again, and I’m pleased to announce that he has agreed a new four-year deal after my arrival here.”